Side Effects Epilepsy Foundation
Seizure medicines may cause unwanted side effects in some people. Most of the time, the effects are mild and don't last long. Often they can be treated by.
Seizure medicines may cause unwanted side effects in some people. Most of the time, the effects are mild and don’t last long. Often they can be treated by adjusting the dose or how a person takes it.
Some seizure medicines are known to present a greater risk of certain serious idiosyncratic or allergic reactions.
Many side effects are unpredictable and are not related to the dosage or level of medication in the blood. They may also be called ‘idiosyncratic’ side effects. These can include:
Bone loss from certain seizure medicines may be more common than in people not taking these medicines. We used to think this happened only to older women who also were going through hormonal changes. However more recent research shows that it can happen in men and women at any age. It’s more likely to happen if people have been taking certain medicines for a long time. However bone loss has also been seen in teenagers taking certain seizure medicines.
Allergic reactions to seizure medicines are infrequent but they do occur, usually within the first 6 months of starting the medication. The most common type of allergic reaction is a rash.
Examples of these side effects include :
If you take carbamazepine (Tegretol, Tegretol XR, Carbatrol), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), primidone (Mysoline), topiramate (Topamax), or valproate (Depakote):
No. In almost every case, when a doctor recommends treatment with seizure medicines, the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.
Dangerous and potentially fatal reactions are rare. There is no reliable way to predict who is most likely to develop these problems. For a small number of medicines, routine monitoring of blood tests may be needed. In other situations, routine testing is not likely to pick up potential problems. When routine blood tests should be done depends on the medicine and other risk factors. Talk to your doctor and nurse about what symptoms to look out for and when to call if problems occur. The most dangerous reactions may include:
When the level of a medication in a person's blood becomes too high, troublesome effects may occur. The doctor may refer to this problem as toxicity. The dosages or blood levels that cause toxicity varies from person to person and from one medicine to another. These problems are almost never dangerous or permanent. Yet people can get hurt if they fall or injure themselves from side effects. These problems can usually be treated by lowering the total daily dose, changing the times the drug is taken or how much is taken at one time. Sometimes if the problems don’t go away the medicine may be changed.
l a doctor immediay if you experience any of the following:
Sometimes the way that seizure medicines stop seizures also can affect how the brain works in other ways. Since seizure medicines lower the excitability of nerve cells in the brain, they can also affect normal activity. Cognitive problems - problems with thinking, remembering, paying attention or concentrating, finding the right words, or other symptoms – can be due to side effects of some seizure medicines. Some medicines may also affect a person’s energy level, mood, motivation or how fast they think or do tasks. Sometimes these problems will go away as you get used to a medicine. Other times they don’t. Make sure to l your doctor about any problems that occur and how they affect you.
Problems with cognition such as thinking, remembering and paying attention are most likely to occur when two or more medicines are used together (polytherapy). They also may be seen when levels of medicine in the body are very high. Read more about the effects of epilepsy and seizure medicines on cognition in the section of called Thinking and Behavior.